Selling connections

There’s a man where I work, it’s one of the most skilled individuals I’ve ever come across. Right now he’s the head of developments of a big company, but I had the chance to meet him long ago, when he was following a small project for another big brand.

How did he get there? Not from one company to another, but he climbed up the roles to get to head of development. He took many years, but he did it.

Today many people ask for his time, people from all over the company want his help.

Why he’s so critical now?
He got connections. He knows how to handle them. He knows how to value people.

A set of connections he built thanks to his technical and human skills, that is his value. That is what’s different.

It’s like when a startup gets bought. They’re not only buying the idea, they’re buying a team capable of communicating, delivering work, finding the right balance between dreams and pragmatism.

Being good at your job is a good start, but to be great you need to understand and explore the surroundings, empower those around you, create a network.

A truthful show

What is honest in a show? When I look at Jimmy Fallon I love how spontaneous he is and yet I keep wondering: How much of this is planned, how much of it is in the script, and how much improv is there.

Fiction, that is, the ability to imitate real life. Like an actor, but without the script of the story, only the script for a show, to make the show more human, more palatable, more relatable.

A show will be successful if it has these ingredients because after wall we crave that kind of interaction. We crave it because in our daily life we miss it, our social masks, our social status, our fears will prevail our desire for honest connection with people.

When I look at the tv-series Suits I see in Litt our perfect representation. We fear judgement so we try to hide. We hide our errors, our fears, even ourselves.

That’s why we miss honest connections, because we lack vulnerability. We think this is a game where only the strong survive, but it’s not, and our need for a truthful connection, a honest talk, is the clear demonstration of it.

We’re all fighting together

Couple of days ago I discovered a coworker wasn’t performing so well. Given the fact that we had some “Moonlightning” issues in the past (people working for two or 3 companies at a time) I wanted to understand better what was going on.

Once I had a chance to talk with him I realized that he was doing the best he could with the information provided, he had some issues, but he wasn’t the only source of problem.
We were part of the problem too. We didn’t gave him enough information to understand the problem.

I then looked at the hierarchy and saw that all people were way too busy with to many late task. Everyone was behind schedule.

They were all doing their best but still failing because they were so late for the time.
Days ago I was thinking that maybe some people were underperforming but no, I changed my mind because I know what it’s like to be late, to underperform because you’re overwhelmed.

Those people were all fighting together, failing together. This happens. There are time when you’d like some trust from the people around you, trust in a moment when you’re in trouble, when you can’t keep up.

When I looked at the situation I realized that was one of those times. People can be excellent, once you allow them to be so.

Feedback is critical, instant feedback is useless

Did it ever happened to you to enter in a restaurant or a bar and to not be greeted at all?

When it happens you feel like a ghost, like you’re invisible, like you don’t matter for them.
If the wait is long enough it’ll have all the right cards to make you angry.

But, on the other end, if they notice you even by adding a simple “Oh, we’ll be right there, wait a minute”, they are saying “I see you, I know you are there and you matter to me”.

It makes the wait less painful and adds context and value to the whole scene.

In a world dominated by technology feedback is still important. If we don’t have time to reply to a message in time, if we need to gather information and we wait until we’re done, or if we planned to answer next week, we’re acting like the waiter in the bar. Not noticing, ignoring the customer waiting at the door.

On the other hand, if we reply instantly to each customer that enters we could not be able to do our work, to serve the rest of the people.

Feedback is a critical part of any job. It allows you to say “I’m on it” and even if you’re not working a simple “I’ll get back to you tomorrow” will be enough to calm things down.
Feedback is what makes people feel understood, and it’s also what makes their action more meaningful, because, without it, we’re like lonely travelers in a forest, hoping someone will laugh at our joke while nobody is there.

Be prepared yet accept detours

I was with my wife at a seminar for moms to be. The nurse was asking questions to each father to know what were our expectations, our dreams, our fears.

I was one of the last in line. I was prepared with a nice answer, but she let me say only the first part, then she stopped me and asked me a question that was outside of what I expected.

My ego was a little depressed because it lost the opportunity to show up, but that’s the whole point: Being prepared, studying for something, is only a part of the job.
If we get attached to the outcome or even to the time spent working for it, we’ll be disappointed by the events.

What we must do is prepare for the worst and accept what’s to come. Because ego will be always there, trying to lure us into thinking that expressing is a right idea, but no: We should learn to mix our ideas into the world, flow with it.

Not because we want to hide ego, not because we want to avoid confrontation or to be assertive.
No, because ego can only add value to itself. If we are stuck to our idea it means ego is in the way, it means we can’t grow that idea anymore because we’re not willing to change.

Ego is a chance to learn how let go, how to accept detours and enjoy them.

Change is hard for one good reason

There’s a reason why change is hard.

Real change goes to the roots, it requires being in the midst of the war, it requires responsibility.

Real change doesn’t start with what you did wrong, but what I did wrong, what I could do better.

Real change is not pointing fingers to others, it’s an understanding that the real change cannot be prosecuted by outsourcing the problems, no. We are the problem and as such we should look first at what we did wrong.

Real change is hard because it behaves like a chain of command. Even if the lower soldier in command has made an error, it’s the higher chain that should be considered responsible.

Until you accept this, until you put yourself in the midst of the battle, under the lights of judgement and with the understanding that the first thing to change is you, until this you won’t have a real change, only a fake one.

It might last a while, but it won’t last forever.

Every year adds up

When you know someone for a long time chances are you have some kind of prejudice, some kind of automatic storytelling that’s happening in every interaction. That’s why communicating becomes harder each time, because you need to take off a layer for each year, for each unresolved issue, for each word you kept inside.

Leaving a job

I was listening to the Tim Ferris Show and there was this woman that said something very interesting, two things stayed with me after the podcast.

First: We might have a promotion, a new job, but if we’re not prepared, if we don’t have all the skill set, we might not be a good fit. And that’s fine.

Second: “I am good at doing what I do, just not here”. It was a phrase along these lines, but the concept is the same. Being “Bad” at something doesn’t equate being bad entirely.

Focus on work that matters to you, works that stimulates you, don’t be afraid to back off.

Good intentions

I remember when my grandpa died. I got the news through a call phone from my mom, I was in car, heading to work in a client’s office.

Just like many other examples my grandpa died after a glimpse of perfect recovery from an illness. He died few weeks later, when nobody would’ve expected it.

Those where the times when “Where the hell is matt” was still a thing, and what he did to me that video was to inspire hope, a boundless hope that humanity might still be united under one ideal of love. So utopian and so beautiful. The songs for those videos are all made from the same 4 chords, in similar sequences.

Those chords are what I’d call “pop emotional chords”. They touch something deep within you.

That day I listened over and over that song, trying to keep in my mind that yes: this death shall not be useless. I will make the best of my time, I will be the best person I can.

What I wanted was to mark that day, to be a lead for my grandpa, to make him proud of who I would become.

I remember that after a few days from the death my eyes stop on a book. It was the last book my grandpa read, I hand it to him and retrieve it before his death.

He told me he loved that book. I said to myself that I’d read it, as a token to my grandpa, but I never did.

It occurred to me many times, yet I never even tried to open the book or to take it off the shelf.
Good intentions do not always become a reality, they are just lying thoughts, idealistic ideas of our minds. They can become a reality, they have the power to do it, but we do not always allow it to happen.

At the same time we do not become bad people if we don’t succeed in our good intentions. I still try to be the best person I can, I fail almost daily, but I try almost daily. And though it can’t be considered a success worldwide I know for sure that this is what a good intention into action is.

I will read that book one day, but for now that is part of the idealistic thoughts that come through my mind and I accept that I’m no worst than yesterday, but no better than tomorrow.

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